The Drill Pad
Command Voice
Air Force

Voice Characteristics. The way a command is given affects the way the movement is executed. A correctly delivered command is loud and distinct enough for everyone in the element to hear. It is given in a tone, cadence, and snap that demand a willing, correct, and immediate response. A voice with the right qualities of loudness, projection, distinctness, inflection, and snap enables a commander to obtain effective results as shown

Loudness. This is the volume used in giving a command. It should be adjusted to the distance and number of individuals in the formation. The commander takes a position in front of, and centered on, the unit and facing the unit so his or her voice reaches all individuals. Speak loudly enough for all to hear, but do not strain the vocal cords.

The most important muscle used in breathing is the diaphragm, the large, powerful muscle that separates the chest cavity from theDiaphragm Exercise abdominal cavity. The diaphragm automatically controls the breath when giving commands.

Deep breathing exercises develop the diaphragm and refresh the entire body. The following exercise will develop improved breathing techniques for giving commands. Take a deep breath through the mouth and hold the air in the lungs. With relaxed throat muscles, say huh and ha in as short a time as possible. Make the sounds entirely by expelling short puffs of air from the lungs. Use only the diaphragm and muscles around the waist. When you do this properly, you can feel a distinct movement of the abdominal muscles. Practice this exercise often. As a result, you can increase effort and volume until they are natural. Another excellent exercise for developing and strengthening the muscular walls of the diaphragm is illustrated on the right. (Click on picture for full size)

The cavities of the throat, mouth, and nose act as amplifiers and help give fullness (resonance) and projection to the voice.

To obtain resonance, keep your throat relaxed, loosen your lower jaw, and open your mouth. You can then prolong the vowel sounds.

Projection. This is the ability of your voice to reach whatever distance is desired without undue strain. To project the command, focus your voice on the person farthest away. Counting in a full, firm voice and giving commands at a uniform cadence while prolonging the syllables are good exercises. Erect posture, proper breathing, a relaxed throat, and an open mouth help project the voice.

Distinctness. This depends on the correct use of the tongue, lips, and teeth to form the separate sounds of a word and to group those sounds to force words. Distinct commands are effective; indistinct commands cause confusion. Emphasize clear enunciation.

Inflection. This is the change in pitch of the voice. Pronounce the preparatory command--the command that announces the movement--with a rising inflection near or at the end of its completion, usually the last syllable. When beginning a preparatory command, the most desirable pitch of voice is near the level of the natural speaking voice. A common fault is to start the preparatory command so high that, after employing a rising inflection, the passage to a higher pitch for the command of execution is impossible without undue strain. A properly delivered command of execution has no inflection. However, it should be given at a higher pitch than the preparatory command. Some commands are portrayed graphically below.

(Click on the picture to hear the command)
Snap. This is that extra quality in a command that demands immediate response. It expresses confidence and decisiveness. It indicates complete control of yourself and the situation. To achieve this quality, you must have a knowledge of commands and the ability to voice them effectively. Give the command of execution at the precise instant the heel of the proper foot strikes the ground while marching. Achieve snap in giving commands by standing erect, breathing without effort, and speaking clearly.